The Millionaire Who Lives In A Caravan Park
By Emma O'Neill
Michael Buoy made his millions deep sea diving while living on oil rigs across the world. Today he lives at the Casino Village RV Resort.
He is not your stereotypical caravan park resident and could live in a bayside property at Wategos Beach, Byron Bay, if he wanted to. Instead he chooses to live at the village.
Mr Buoy, like many residents at the Casino Village RV Resort, is part of a new generation of older retirees who are selling their brick homes in favour of an RV (recreational vehicle) and a prefabricated fibro house at a caravan park.
The village opened in June 2003 and currently houses 100 full-time residents.
It is an impressive community which includes a few millionaires, the local mayor and a prize-winning garden.
According to resident Joe Schlitter, owning a plot in the village will buy grey nomads a secure base and the freedom to keep exploring in their RVs.
But just as importantly, it buys a sense of community, which Mr Schlitter believes has been lost in many suburban streets.
“I carry a notepad around this place to jot down the names of people I meet,” he said.
“Everyone is just so friendly. We really only knew one neighbour in Sydney. Here we know too many people.”
Mr Schlitter‘s partner of 14 years, Elizabeth Griffin, called the caravan park 'one big happy family’.
Their home is a corner block that looks on to what will soon be the village's golf course.
Nothing seems to be too much trouble for neighbours in this park.
Take Elizabeth Price, who spent yesterday afternoon taking photographs of her neighbour's kangaroo paw flowers in full bloom.
“My neighbours won't be back until December, so I'm going to send them these pictures to show them how well the garden is looking,” Ms Price said.
Mr Buoy said the best thing about a village like this was that everyone was equal.
“Once you retire it doesn't seem to matter who you were or what you did. Everyone is on the same level,” he said.